Data will be the most important raw material of the future, warns German Economics Minister Peter Altmaier. The sentence has become his mantra in recent months, and often uses it in interviews and speeches – last, for example, at the Digital Summit in Dortmund.
The European super cloud Gaia-X, which the German government presented at the digital summit this week, is now set to catch up. The concept provides for a European cloud network with European privacy standards.
The project has high hopes: cloud services are the backbone of the data economy. They enable Internet-based access to software, computing capacity or storage space and are thus also a prerequisite for Industry 4.0.
The European cloud network Gaia-X is positioning itself as an alternative to the American providers: it should become safer, more transparent and fairer. The project’s strategy paper reads like a challenge to leading cloud providers Amazon, Microsoft and Google.
“The current market structure brings with it the risk of dependence on international providers,” it states among other things. The aim was to create a data infrastructure that would uphold the liberal values and self-determination of all European citizens and businesses, thus ensuring their data sovereignty.
Federal Research Minister Anja Karliczek puts it even more harshly: “Power over data in Europe should no longer be in the hands of a few international companies.”
For the European cloud project, the German government has formed a broad alliance of associations and companies, including Siemens, SAP, Deutsche Bank and Deutsche Telekom. They are very late – but maybe not too late.